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Building Model Railway Tunnels

Updated on February 1, 2012

Building a Model Railway Tunnel

When it comes to building model railway tunnels, there are so many ways to do it, that I really cannot list them all.

If I'm being honest, I prefer the cheaper option of building them myself, and I want to show you how you can do it too. If you prefer to got out and buy an unrealistic plastic looking model tunnel, then that is an option, but one that is costly.

Building your own model railway tunnels is very cheap, and best of all, fun. In just a matter of hours, you can start building the most realistic looking model railway tunnels, and soon have your OO or N gauge train passing through.

I mentioned that building your own model railway tunnels is cheap, and I am being serious. For very little money you can make some amazing looking tunnels and tunnel portals, with materials which are easy to get hold of.

If your a beginner, then why not check out my other lens, Starting a Model Railway, which shows you how to start from scratch, what mistakes not to make and how to get your hands on a FREE model railway starter guide.

Building Model Railway Tunnels

The Starter Basics

I don't want to claim I'm an expert, Building model railway tunnels, is all down to getting it looking right. Many builders, and myself included, use a tunnel in a corner, to hide any sharp looking curves in the track, which gets the train back into the centre of the layout. Not having a tunnel, can make the layout look all wrong, and unrealistic, so adding a tunnel is a great way to hide an odd piece of track, and also get a great looking feature.

A Tunnel is also a great way of adding height to your layout. In real life, trains cannot go up steep gradients, but in the model world, we can make this possible. Now, I'm not talking about building a mini Mount Everest on your layout, I think you get what I mean.

As you can see, the picture above is not the most realistic looking of tunnels, and I wanted to point out that you can make something 100 times better looking than this, if you know how.

So you need a bit of help, a small push in the right direction, and I have just the thing. You can get a FREE, that's right free guide, by simply clicking on the banner above, or by visiting my website link, You will find a wealth of information right at your finger tips, and its costs nothing.

Using Supplies You Have At Home

Get Looking In The Kitchen Cupboards For Supplies

I bet you didn't think you could make the scenery that goes with your model railway tunnel, with products you have in your kitchen cupboards, did you?

I know model railways can be an expensive hobby, but it really doesn't have to be. When I first started out, I used to buy many of the things I thought I needed in the sales, and then never ended up using them, because they weren't the right scale, didn't fit with the scene or were the wrong era.

Take a tip from me, you can make the ground effect in or around your model railway tunnel using Tea Leaves. Yes, I did actually say Tea Leaves, you didn't read that wrong. It is a bit of a secret tip, that many of the pros use, and it is extremely cheap, and looks amazing when used in conjunction with a fabric dye.

This Tip, can be found along with hundreds more if you visit my website link, This guide is great for beginners and pros, and I'm pretty sure, even the hardy model enthusiasts will find something amazing in this guide, I know I did.

Building Model Railway Tunnels

Using Paper Mache

For me, building any type of scenery which includes embankments, or raised sides of a tunnel must be made from paper mache.

Now, I know many will disagree with me, and that's fine, everyone has there opinion on how they build hillsides and tunnels. The only way to build realistic scenery's and get the effect of natural hillsides is to go the paper mache way. You can purchase tunnels entrances from hobby shops, but they might be a bit expensive, but many people prefer to do this.

You can also make your own tunnel portals,using simple things such as cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls. I know it might sound a little odd, but when the product is finished and strengthened, you will find it makes an excellent tunnel entrance, and very cheaply.

building model railway tunnels
building model railway tunnels

Building Model Railway Tunnels

Using Styrofoam/Polystyrene

Building model railway tunnels, using Styrofoam is another great way to save money, and create a great landscape from scratch.

Styrofoam, is a well used base material of model railways, and can be easily carved and cut to create many shapes and forms. You can Styrofoam/Polystyrene in most model shops and also at your local hardware store. It can come in many shapes and sizes, so it's best to have an idea of what shape you are going to need, to save on money.

You can also use Styrofoam/Polystyrene, to make train portals, and this can be easily done using a craft knife. The great thing about using these types of materials for building model railway tunnels, is you have total freedom, and can create and shape you need.

Creating A Realistic Model Railway Tunnel

I have recently had a discussion, I have never really tried to copy a scenery anywhere in the world, but I know of some beautiful railway tunnels in the UK, so I am now thinking of creating my own miniature layout of a real life railway tunnel, somewhere in the UK, I just have to choose my setting.

Building model railway tunnels, of actually settings of maybe somewhere in Devon or Cornwall is now sounding very appealing to me, and I don't know how I have never thought of really doing this in the past. I think I have always gone with my mind, and never used a Model Railway Layout Planner, just always used my imagination.

The picture I have used, is of Dawlish in Devon, and as you can see its quite a unique setting, and one that would make a great centerpiece of any model railway layout.

Building Model Railway Tunnels

This is an amateur video, but I just had to add it here, to see what you can build if you put your mind to it. Using simple household materials, you can build some amazing looking tunnels, using little or no money.

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      anonymous 5 years ago


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      dannystaple 5 years ago

      This lens has great potential - I love model rail stuff.